Diminishing Returns, Propaganda and the Infinite Abyss

As I may have mentioned, and will continue to do so until every one of you swines and ten of your friends has bought a copy, I’ve got a new book out. I’ve also been over how shameful and wretched the selling part is when you’ve got a product to get out to the world, and told you how I struggle to shift copies to American audiences because they hate me; so now what?

Well, I’m now in that awful stretch that comes a couple of weeks after that thing you did first becomes available, where the people who know you — your pre-existing audience — have already snapped theirs up, moving you from the exhilarating “Woo, people are buying this! It’s working, it’s finally working!” period to the soul-destroying open space stretching infinitely on into the future, where the only remaining sales are going to come from new readers.  Historically, this is the part where I always quit, as I never really got how to do it. I’m a writer, not a salesman — a writer with a promotional budget of zero — and day by day I find myself sliding out into that infinite abyss with the words “Fuck it then, forget it” on the tip of my tongue. But much as I’m near enough completely out of ideas once again, I can’t give up, not this time. As I mentioned before, this is currently my only source of income, so if it doesn’t work — it has to work. It has to. So, I keep trudging on.

At this point, even my pre-existing audience are (probably quite rightly) glazing over with each tweet or new mention; the law of diminishing returns turning what, three weeks ago, was exciting and retweet-worthy, into white noise that sails straight over their poor, brow-beaten heads, like the thousandth cry of “Wolf!” from some prick in a Greek fable. One way of freshening things up has been the creation of posters. That whole minimalist movie poster thing has been a bit of an online fad for a couple of years, and it’s a nice fit if you’ve got a good eye, but the actual drawing skills of an infant. I’ve done these for previous titles, but the ‘overheard conversations’ gimmick lends itself to a lot of poster-worthy dialogue, so The Beach Diaries makes for good material. Now join me, and wheel-click this link into a new tab, as we wander the gallery.




"Friends again?"

“Friends again?”


I didn't personally witness said bum, or said bucket.

I didn’t personally witness said bum, or said bucket.


If you've not seen HBO's Oz, 1) This will make no sense, and 2) You're a bell

If you’ve not seen HBO’s Oz, 1) This will make no sense, and 2) You’re a bell




And here are a couple of general Beach Diaries ones.




"Beachtown" alternative version, where I'm wearing a crown

“Beachtown” alternative version, where I’m wearing my crown

And finally —

Inspired by an Amazon review, and those post-911 pictures of eagles weeping over Old Glory

Inspired by an Amazon review, and those post-911 pictures of eagles weeping over Old Glory

If nothing else, at least they’re the right shape to slide along that infinite abyss on, like some horrible magic carpet ride to homelessness.

The Beach Diaries 2012 on Amazon.com, $3.99

The Beach Diaries 2012 on Amazon.co.uk, £2.99

Amazon’s free Kindle app for PC, Mac, phones & tablets

~ by Stuart on March 27, 2013.

6 Responses to “Diminishing Returns, Propaganda and the Infinite Abyss”

  1. If anything the posters make for good viewing. You could always print them out and use as blankets whilst sleeping under the bridge?

  2. How about extending the ‘Guerilla’ nature of the book and promoting it that way? I was into the DIY ‘Zine community a few years ago and they were a pretty big thing to buy and trade online for around £2 a go (particularly the self-artistic-promotional ones) – I made my own about the adventures of my guinea pigs and it got a fair bit of interest. How about maybe making an 8 page A6 print-out leaflet type thing (Will only cost the ink, the paper and the staples) with a few extracts in there and leaving a few ‘leaflet samples’ in local rock clubs, artist galleries, places where intelligent folk tend to gather and even in public beach facilities? I’ve found that people like the self-made market (Being part of it myself).

    Failing that, I’ll make and send you a T-shirt that says “Starving Author” on the front and “Please Feed!” on the back 😉

    • I bought and read “The Beach Diaries 2012” last week by the way and enjoyed it very much 🙂

    • OOH, now this is all great stuff. I remember planning to do this kind of thing with the Frantic Planets, back in the day, especially as they actually physically existed in a form people could touch with their fingers, but I never got around to it for some reason. Laziness. Laziness is the reason. Ideally, I’d be stashing things in the public toilets, next to the notes from men requesting a fresh layer of buttock-jizz from strangers.

      I like the idea of the t-shirt too. Ideally, I want to be able to walk the streets, open my mouth, and have bystanders just throw stuff in there, like the seals at Seaworld.

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